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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Peter Forsberg was the most complete hockey player who ever lived.

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Old
03-15-2014, 10:59 AM
  #26
Fugu
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Sergei Fedorov.


3 Cups, Hart, Pearson, Selke x 2

Used as a defenseman on occasion.

My mention above about Lemieux and Gretzky comes from a Gretzky quote about Feds, whom Gretzky considered one of the most complete players he'd seen.

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03-15-2014, 11:39 AM
  #27
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I've always thought that in the 'most complete' race, Howe is as far ahead of the pack as Gretzky is in the 'best offensively' race.

There's nothing Howe couldn't do, and he did it like clockwork for 20+ years.

Orr is a good choice, too, but he obviously doesn't have the longevity like Mr Hockey does.

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03-15-2014, 12:02 PM
  #28
vadim sharifijanov
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how about king clancy, the only guy i know of to credibly play defense, forward, and goal?

scored, excellent defensively, tough and would fight anyone but apparently also generally played clean and stayed out of the box, reportedly a wonderful leader.

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03-15-2014, 12:25 PM
  #29
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For Forsberg's generation I could make a pretty easy argument that Fedorov was a more complete player. Considering he has a Selke, Hart, 3 cups and played defense at times

He had 9 seasons of over 30 goals compared to Forsberg's 0. Including some elite goal scoring seasons like his Hart year where he scored 56. Forsberg was not as complete as Fedorov.

And yes the all time answer is Howe, too elite in too many areas not to be and all the longevity and durability on top of that.

Forsberg being 7th in ppg is a thing I always see brought up but its not that impressive to me honestly. Playing a bunch of shortened seasons without the regular wear and tear and streakiness of a full season boosts a ppg, so does not playing in the twilight years of a career where your age effects your game so much.

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03-15-2014, 12:30 PM
  #30
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Okay, there are two schools of thought here. The all-time most complete player and the most complete in Forsberg's era.

First off, all-time: Howe, Beliveau, Messier, Trottier all come to mind. They are all more complete than Forsberg. I include physical play and to an extent dropping the mitts too when it comes to this. Forsberg got bloodied by none other than Igor Larionov in a fight. He wouldn't last 10 seconds fighting the other players above him. Trottier and Messier would kill him in the corners. Howe too. All could score goals better than him. Forsberg never scored more than 30 in a season, and for those that remember when he was a player, that was a big topic of discussion back then too.

But to compare him to the players of his era (I am assuming Messier doesn't count for his era here?): You have Fedorov, Sakic, Lindros, Modano, Gilmour. I guess Gilmour is more in Messier's era though, as would be Francis.

All of Fedorov, Sakic, Lindros and Modano had some flaw in the way of a complete game though. Fedorov wasn't physical and didn't put up the points season after season like the others. Sakic wasn't terribly physical either. Ditto for Modano. Lindros did all of that but had a rough time when the going got tough and pales in comparison to Forsberg in the playoffs. However, all 4 of them could score goals better than Forsberg. So it really is an open field.

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03-15-2014, 01:15 PM
  #31
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This is why completeness is overrated. It's a team sport, and each player should be a piece of the team, not needing to be everything single-handedly. Who cares if Forsberg was more complete than Gretzky or Lemieux? He clearly wasn't anywhere NEAR as good a player.

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03-15-2014, 01:25 PM
  #32
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That is a legitimate question: what do we mean by complete. Does it mean meeting a certain minimum level in all possible components of the game, regardless of how much or how little the player exceeds the minimum by, or does it simply mean who contributes the most to a team?

Gretzky didn't play defence, but his offence was so far ahead of anyone else, he still contributed far more than even the best defensive players. Whether you want to consider him complete depends on your definition, as above.

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03-15-2014, 01:29 PM
  #33
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Durability is an important part in being a complete player, which is why I would disqualify Orr or Forsberg from the conversation.

I'm thinking maybe Ray Bourque. Amazing PP quarterback, solid as a rock defensively, could crush you in the boards, Missed only 134 games over 22 seasons.

Terrific playoff performer also.

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03-15-2014, 01:30 PM
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Okay, there are two schools of thought here. The all-time most complete player and the most complete in Forsberg's era.

First off, all-time: Howe, Beliveau, Messier, Trottier all come to mind. They are all more complete than Forsberg. I include physical play and to an extent dropping the mitts too when it comes to this. Forsberg got bloodied by none other than Igor Larionov in a fight. He wouldn't last 10 seconds fighting the other players above him. Trottier and Messier would kill him in the corners. Howe too. All could score goals better than him. Forsberg never scored more than 30 in a season, and for those that remember when he was a player, that was a big topic of discussion back then too.

But to compare him to the players of his era (I am assuming Messier doesn't count for his era here?): You have Fedorov, Sakic, Lindros, Modano, Gilmour. I guess Gilmour is more in Messier's era though, as would be Francis.

All of Fedorov, Sakic, Lindros and Modano had some flaw in the way of a complete game though. Fedorov wasn't physical and didn't put up the points season after season like the others. Sakic wasn't terribly physical either. Ditto for Modano. Lindros did all of that but had a rough time when the going got tough and pales in comparison to Forsberg in the playoffs. However, all 4 of them could score goals better than Forsberg. So it really is an open field.

Why is physicality a requirement of completeness? I personally think this is mostly a Canadian-centric requirement.

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03-15-2014, 01:31 PM
  #35
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Click HERE for the truth.

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03-15-2014, 01:58 PM
  #36
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Why is physicality a requirement of completeness? I personally think this is mostly a Canadian-centric requirement.
... Because it's an element of hockey?

I'm sure Gordie Howe's opponents would've been happy if he wasn't as physical. It's hard to ignore physicality as a factor. Look no further than a guy like Chris Pronger to see how physicality can be the difference between a pretty good player and a great player.

Of course, you don't have to be physical to be a good hockey player, but this thread is about most complete.


As for Forsberg, I'd say Crosby is a more complete player than he was. Elite hands, vision, skating, puck possession, scoring, IQ, good defensive player, elite along the boards in puck battles, good at faceoffs. I'd say he's top 5 in the game right now at most offensive elements of hockey. Of course the biggest knock on him is he isn't particularly physical either.

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03-15-2014, 02:38 PM
  #37
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It makes sense that physical play is a factor when you ask for "completeness" in a hockey player, after all, hockey is a contact sport that allows very physical plays like body checking. But "dropping the mitts"? As costumary it may be, it's an offence that leads to a penalty. Actions that aren't allowed shouldn't be considered contributions to the "completeness" of a player, unless you're willing to give Peter Forsberg bonus points for his asserted diving skills.

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03-15-2014, 02:53 PM
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MastuhNinks View Post
... Because it's an element of hockey?

I'm sure Gordie Howe's opponents would've been happy if he wasn't as physical. It's hard to ignore physicality as a factor. Look no further than a guy like Chris Pronger to see how physicality can be the difference between a pretty good player and a great player.

Of course, you don't have to be physical to be a good hockey player, but this thread is about most complete.


As for Forsberg, I'd say Crosby is a more complete player than he was. Elite hands, vision, skating, puck possession, scoring, IQ, good defensive player, elite along the boards in puck battles, good at faceoffs. I'd say he's top 5 in the game right now at most offensive elements of hockey. Of course the biggest knock on him is he isn't particularly physical either.
I look no further than Nick Lidstrom to counter your Pronger argument. Yes, for some players, their physicality makes up for their lacking in other areas, or vice versa. Lidstrom is one of the greatest defensemen ever and he did it all without "needing" to be physical.

That's why I don't believe it's an absolute requirement in and of itself. I put in the preference category, and one that mainly comes up with North American fans.

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03-15-2014, 03:04 PM
  #39
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Why is physicality a requirement of completeness? I personally think this is mostly a Canadian-centric requirement.
In all-time sense physicality is important aspect of the game cause the earlier years of hockey was heavily physical.

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03-15-2014, 03:07 PM
  #40
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I look no further than Nick Lidstrom to counter your Pronger argument. Yes, for some players, their physicality makes up for their lacking in other areas, or vice versa. Lidstrom is one of the greatest defensemen ever and he did it all without "needing" to be physical.

That's why I don't believe it's an absolute requirement in and of itself. I put in the preference category, and one that mainly comes up with North American fans.
There's no denying some players can succeed without it. The question is: wouldn't Lidström have been even better if he would have been physical on top of his other qualities?

Mario Lemieux for example: he didn't need to put in an effort defensively to be one of the greatest of all time. Does that mean defensive effort is not a requirement for forwards? Well, not an "absolute" requirement obviously if you're as good as Lemieux offensively, but in a bigger scheme of things? Isn't a player with the offensive abilities of Lemieux and additional defensive abilities a better player than Lemieux?

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03-15-2014, 03:33 PM
  #41
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
There's no denying some players can succeed without it. The question is: wouldn't Lidström have been even better if he would have been physical on top of his other qualities?

Mario Lemieux for example: he didn't need to put in an effort defensively to be one of the greatest of all time. Does that mean defensive effort is not a requirement for forwards? Well, not an "absolute" requirement obviously if you're as good as Lemieux offensively, but in a bigger scheme of things? Isn't a player with the offensive abilities of Lemieux and additional defensive abilities a better player than Lemieux?

With regard to Lidstrom, I have a hard time seeing what being physical would have improved in terms of results yielded. Many of his contemporary forwards considered him the most difficult defender to face (someone Crosby also identified as toughest to face). If he was able to defuse many situations before you got to the point where physical intervention might have helped, I can't see why letting it go further makes him a better defenseman. His accolades and achievements speak for themselves, so would being more physical mean 2 more Norrises and another Cup somewhere? I don't this so-- at all.

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03-15-2014, 03:38 PM
  #42
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With regard to Lidstrom, I have a hard time seeing what being physical would have improved in terms of results yielded. Many of his contemporary forwards considered him the most difficult defender to face (someone Crosby also identified as toughest to face). If he was able to defuse many situations before you got to the point where physical intervention might have helped, I can't see why letting it go further makes him a better defenseman. His accolades and achievements speak for themselves, so would being more physical mean 2 more Norrises and another Cup somewhere? I don't this so-- at all.
Yeah. Could an added aggressiveness actually have tampered with his defensive game? I mean i dont know if Lidström and say Scott Stevens played totally alike defensively not counting agressivness.

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03-15-2014, 03:56 PM
  #43
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In all-time sense physicality is important aspect of the game cause the earlier years of hockey was heavily physical.

It may have been a way that a majority of players learned or preferred to play that way-- especially in North America, but clearly it's not required to achieve a great level. That's why I call the rating of physicality as necessary to be faulty, and see it as a personal preference.

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03-15-2014, 03:57 PM
  #44
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I look no further than Nick Lidstrom to counter your Pronger argument. Yes, for some players, their physicality makes up for their lacking in other areas, or vice versa. Lidstrom is one of the greatest defensemen ever and he did it all without "needing" to be physical.

That's why I don't believe it's an absolute requirement in and of itself. I put in the preference category, and one that mainly comes up with North American fans.
Lidstrom was great without being physical just like lots of players are great without having a great shot, being exceptionally fast, etc.

One player being good without physical doesn't completely discount it as an attribute, that's ridiculous.

If we're talking about the most complete hockey player in the history of the game, I include physicality regardless of if it's a preference or not.

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03-15-2014, 03:59 PM
  #45
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Yeah. Could an added aggressiveness actually have tampered with his defensive game? I mean i dont know if Lidström and say Scott Stevens played totally alike defensively not counting agressivness.

To my eye? No, not at all. Stevens' game was built around physicality, clearly used to intimidate the opposition and punish (or pummel) them into submission. Lidstrom used positioning, foresight and his stick (poke check) to control the play. Both had to have a very good read on the play and how things were developing, but then each used different tools to defend.

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03-15-2014, 03:59 PM
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Why is physicality a requirement of completeness? I personally think this is mostly a Canadian-centric requirement.
Its not in my book. Its one of several components to a "complete game" sure but on the scale of things its down the list a bit. A "complete player" to me is essentially a Utlity Player, someone who could play ANY position (with the exception of goal) at an All Star level, and the only guy I know of that fits that criteria would be Red Kelly. In terms of Forwards who were "complete", the aforementioned Gordie Howe is at the top of my list on that count, then youve got some serious culling to do, but Im liking Stan Mikita, Dave Keon, Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau, Derek Sanderson, Gainey, Yzerman, Gilmour & even Theo Fleury when he was seriously "on" & ya, Forsberg as well would be in that grouping or classification as well. By "complete player" defensively, obviously Orr, Harvey, Shore & Coffey, Bourque, Robinson, Savard & others. Some "physical", other not so much, unimportant, irrelevant.

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03-15-2014, 04:01 PM
  #47
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Lidstrom was great without being physical just like lots of players are great without having a great shot, being exceptionally fast, etc.

One player being good without physical doesn't completely discount it as an attribute, that's ridiculous.
Where is it completely discounted? Please don't put words into my posts. My point is that it's not required, so using it as a key metric (a guy who is physical is automatically better, more effective) is what's ridiculous. I'm providing an example of a great player who did it without this "required" attribute. It simply is NOT required.

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03-15-2014, 04:03 PM
  #48
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Its not in my book. Its one of several components to a "complete game" sure but on the scale of things its down the list a bit. A "complete player" to me is essentially a Utlity Player, someone who could play ANY position (with the exception of goal) at an All Star level, and the only guy I know of that fits that criteria would be Red Kelly. In terms of Forwards who were "complete", the aforementioned Gordie Howe is at the top of my list on that count, then youve got some serious culling to do, but Im liking Stan Mikita, Dave Keon, Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau, Derek Sanderson, Gainey, Yzerman, Gilmour & even Theo Fleury when he was seriously "on" & ya, Forsberg as well would be in that grouping or classification as well. By "complete player" defensively, obviously Orr, Harvey, Shore & Coffey, Bourque, Robinson, Savard & others. Some "physical", other not so much, unimportant, irrelevant.

Where's Feds on your list, Killy? He was a better two-way player than Yzerman. Only modern forward who actually could be slotted in at D and look like he belongs.

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03-15-2014, 04:21 PM
  #49
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Where's Feds on your list, Killy? He was a better two-way player than Yzerman. Only modern forward who actually could be slotted in at D and look like he belongs.
Ya, he'd be in Red Kellys class. We could comb the annals and find a few more but its a rarity. Tim Horton for example had a serious set of wheels on him and was a rushing defenceman when he broke into the league. He got nailed with his head down by Bill Gadsby, lost a bit of lateral speed, and playing under Imlach with his stifling defensive system wasnt encouraged to be leading the rush. Around 63 or so however, with injuries decimating the forward lines, he was moved up front & was extremely effective. Guys who were converted from Defense to Forward or vice-versa & who excelled at both to me being "complete players", or Forwards who were brilliant defensively but who could also kill you offensively also meeting that bar & passing it.

In some cases physicality critical & key to their success, in others not so much if even at all however there is no way to avoid being physical, even with the most esoteric of players like Lidstrom, so strength & physicality is part of the make-up. The difference being that players like that used geometry, angles, controlled the pace, speeding it up or slowing it down rather than pure brute force in stopping or bowling over their opponents. Stan Mikita for example wasnt a big man and early in his career was irresponsible defensively, took bad penalties, real mouthpiece, dirty. He cleaned up his act, becoming one of the greatest 2 way forwards in the history of the game. Complete player as in "completely reliable" coming or going capable of doing damage offensively as well.

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03-15-2014, 04:46 PM
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Why is physicality a requirement of completeness? I personally think this is mostly a Canadian-centric requirement.
No, it shouldn't be a Canadian centric requirement. First off, Forsberg was not bad physically at all. He could compete. The diving always left a bad taste in my mouth and it made you less fearful of him on the ice (as opposed to Messier or Potvin or Trottier for example). But if you can throw a lovely check, counter the attack and assist or score on the ensuing rush, then I would say that's a pretty complete package don't you think? So yeah, physical play is important. You mentioned Nick Lidstrom and I guess Red Kelly is another one that wasn't physical but still great in his own end. That's all good, and I will say that Lidstrom was better than players that were more "complete" so to speak, such as Pronger. It isn't as if being physical is the be all and end all, but it means you can play any time of game as well. Good for Lidstrom for not needing to be physical to play a great game. Heck, while we're at it neither was Gretzky. But the topic of the thread is most complete.

I agree with someone who said Crosby is more complete than Forsberg. One thing being the difference is that he can score more goals than Forsberg while being just as good of a playmaker.

I think of a guy like Mike Richards or Jonathan Toews as being complete. They don't do everything as well as the Messier/Trottier/Howe level but to me that's being complete. Because they lack the top level numbers as the others they don't compare on an all-time list though, but you'd be comfortable with them in any situation.

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